JACKSONVILLE — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday he is lifting restrictions on youth activities immediately, saying he will let local governments decide if restrictions are needed and let parents weigh the risks and benefits of participation their children to sports, summer camps or other organized activities. .
Speaking at a press conference in Jacksonville, DeSantis said young people in Florida, who have not been in class since March, are faring much better than older residents during the coronavirus outbreak. of the state and should be allowed to participate in summer activities.
“I think our kids have been out of organized activities long enough, and we need to have a pathway to get it back,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Jacksonville.
“I trust the parents, I trust the doctors and the coaches to really do things to keep people safe. … It will be the parents’ decision. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t. It is very good.”
Continued:Why youth sports may have an easier time getting back to action than the pros
State health officials have not confirmed any patients under the age of 25 who have died from COVID-19, and the same age group accounted for relatively few of the more than 8,000 confirmed hospitalizations.
DeSantis said he was encouraged by this data to allow children to participate in activities and said he was not deterred by a mysterious new illness linked to the coronavirus, which has hospitalized children across the country with life-threatening conditions.
The governor’s announcement is the latest restriction he has lifted since the state started on a slow reopening two weeks ago.
The state confirmed 1,200 new cases on Thursday, the highest one-day jump since April, although DeSantis said the daily percentage of people testing positive has hovered between 3% and less than 1% over the past five. days.
Less than 3% of the 47,300 Florida residents confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus were children under the age of 14, while 8% of cases were in people between the ages of 15 and 24. The state has confirmed 178 hospitalizations in patients younger than 24.
While the federal government has said children “do not appear” to be at greater risk than adults, doctors across the country are closely monitoring a new disease known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.
DeSantis said the state will provide guidelines and best practices for youth activities, but will not put in place any rules or restrictions on activities. He said the severity of the outbreak differs by state, and local governments are best placed to decide what restrictions and rules, if any, are needed.
“I’ve seen some states have a hundred rules on how to pick up a tennis ball. When you do that and overcook it, you end up getting less respect because some people just raise their hand and say : ‘It’s ridiculous,'” DeSantis said.
The governor said he believes state data and studies conducted in Europe suggest that children are not only less at risk of suffering complications from COVID-19, but also play a smaller role in the spread of disease.
“I think the data shows, for some reason, that children are not getting infected at the same rate as adults,” he said.
The CDC said most known cases of the disease have occurred in adults, but they did say children spread it less frequently than adults.
DeSantis spoke alongside Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Dr. Bonnie White, a pediatrician at Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital, also in Jacksonville.
White said she believes best practices for holding activities safely include temperature checks, “thorough” hand washing, wearing masks in some cases, and “parental due diligence.”
“If your child is sick, stay home,” White said.